A Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Marine Corps has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) claiming Black veterans have been disproportionately denied in benefits claims for years.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by Conley Monk Jr. says that through a Freedom of Information Act request he and his attorneys saw "statistically significant differences" in VA claims decisions between Black veterans and white veterans, Military.com reported.
CNN reporting showed that VA records reflected at least 37.1% of white veterans who applied for disability benefits received them, while 30% of Black veterans were granted benefits claims, the Department of Veterans Affairs records showed.
The lawsuit is based on VA data from 2002 until 2020.
Richard Brookshire, CEO of the Black Veterans Project, said, "This lawsuit records the shameful history of racism by the Department of Veterans Affairs and seeks to redress long-standing impropriety and inaction reverberating across generations of Black military service."
According to VA data, 36% of claims filed by Hispanic veterans were approved during that time.
Monk founded the National Veterans Council for Legal Redress, an organization that supports veterans who need employment, benefits and shelter while advocating to seek upgrades to military discharges.
"I feel that we need to be compensated and receive some form of reparations. My lawsuit also is going to lead the charge for other veterans. That's what's really important to me," Monk said.